11/12/2014 05:04 EST | Updated 01/12/2015 05:59 EST

Alberta charges three people in illegal tobacco busts in three communities

EDMONTON - Alberta investigators have charged three people in three different communities following a seizure of illegal tobacco products.

The Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission says materials seized included water-pipe tobacco, chewing tobacco and cigars that would have cost the province about $32,000 in lost tax revenue.

Commission spokeswoman Jody Korchinski says the charges include criminal fraud and the unlawful sale of tobacco products under the provincial tax act.

The suspects in the unrelated cases are from Calgary, Fort McMurray and Grande Prairie.

The Finance Department estimates the province loses about $18 million a year in taxes because of contraband tobacco.

The Western Convenience Stores Association last week called on the Alberta government to crack down on the sale of illegal tobacco.